By Raymond Syms
There’s a well-known saying: A wedding is a day, a marriage is a lifetime. The serious joke is nowadays in some cases, the marriage lasts less time than the wedding preparation did itself.
To produce longer-lasting Catholic marriage, the Archdiocesan Family Life Commission—as mandated by Archbishop Jason Gordon, has begun training married couples to better prepare engaged couples for the issues and challenges they will face in married life.
The Joy Filled Marriage (JFM) Preparation Programme is to be introduced to the Archdiocese in coming months through the Evenings for the Engaged programme. Since Saturday May 18, more than 45 couples have begun the JFM Train the Trainer seven-week training session.
The sessions are being held at the conference room at the Seminary of St John Vianney and the Uganda Martyrs, Mt St Benedict. Facilitators are Tricia and Raymond Syms, Episcopal Delegates for the AFLC, and the Commission’s spiritual adviser Fr Matthew Ragbir.
The couples being trained come from parishes and Catholic family life ministries; some are involved in the Evenings for the Engaged. The other marriage prep programme is the Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend.
Participants were introduced to the two components of the US-based JFM programme – God’s Plan for Love (GPL) and Life Skills for Couples (LSC). GPL offers a firm foundation in and an understanding of the human person from the perspective of St John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. Interestingly, this saint was born on May 18.
At the opening session, participants were given an overview of the objectives, discussed how they met and how God brought them together, why they chose to get married in the Church, the seven principles from Catholic teaching and the Theology of the Body. Recent sessions dealt with marriage vows, handling conflict and happiness in marriage.
A date will be set for when the roll out of the JFM will begin, after this training programme is complete.
Visit the AFLC website, aflcrc.org or their Facebook page for photos, videos and more about the JFM.